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Social Attitudes in Scotland

Social Attitudes in Scotland

The Scottish Government has sponsored a core module on public attitudes in the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (SSAS) since 2004 (with the exception of 2008 and 2012). The SSAS is conducted by ScotCen Social Research, and also includes other modules (e.g. on constitutional preferences), which are not sponsored by the Scottish Government.

The SSAS includes approximately 1,200 – 1,500 interviews per year with a representative sample of the Scottish public.



The core module provides information on how the Scottish Government is viewed by the public. It also measures public attitudes on the economy, living standards and public services.

Regular questions include:

  • Trust in government
  • Which institution has and ought to have the most influence over how Scotland is run (Scottish Government, UK government, Local Authorities or other)
  • What should be the government’s top priority
  • Perceptions of changes in standards in economy, standard of living, health service and education; and whether these changes are attributed to Scottish Government or UK government policies
  • Life satisfaction

Occasional questions have included:

  • Whether public would support charities and businesses providing personal care for older people
  • Trust in official statistics
  • Social capital

The Scottish Government has also sponsored additional modules on a wide range of topics, including

  • Public attitudes to sectarianism (2015)
  • Attitudes to mental health (2013)
  • Attitudes to discrimination and positive action (2006, 2010)
  • Attitudes to drugs and drug use in Scotland (2009)
  • Sustainable places and greenspace (2009)
  • Attitudes to antisocial behaviour in Scotland (2009)
  • Attitudes towards alcohol in Scotland (2007)
  • Public attitudes to homelessness (2006)



Reports on the findings are published on the Scottish Government website in the year following the collection of the data.


For more information about the survey in general please visit the ScotCen Social Research website.

For more information about the Scottish Government core and additional modules, contact the Strategic Research Team.

The data from the survey are available for further analysis through the UK Data archive.